Our guest this episode is the founder of The Disability Union in the United Kingdom, George Baker. George founded the first union by and for disabled people and carers because he believes that “the only way to further disability rights and increase...
Our guest this episode is the founder of The Disability Union in the United Kingdom, George Baker. George founded the first union by and for disabled people and carers because he believes that “the only way to further disability rights and increase inclusion is for all disabled people to work together and support each other.” He shares with Martyn the impetus for the union, how it operates, and the benefit it brings to members.
Contact Mai Ling: MLC at mailingchan.com
Contact Martyn: Martyn at martynsibley.com
As piled up as disabled people are, the only way for us to build our own power structure is to fund it ourselves, in the sidelines like a trade union funds itself. So that's what The Disability Union is.
Mai Ling 00:18
Welcome to Xceptional Leaders with Mai Ling and Martyn, where we give you front row access to intimate conversations that are shaping the way the world is supporting people with disabilities. If it's happening, it's being shared here. I'm Mai Ling Chan, and Martyn Sibley, my cohost isn't able to join us today, however, he did complete this amazing interview with George Baker (https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-baker-92205635/?originalSubdomain=uk), George realized that the challenges he is experiencing have nothing to do with his disability, but everything to do with how marginalized people with disabilities are. And so, he's focused on creating a highly organized community to become politically active and have an effect on a much larger scale. He also shares the challenges surrounding how to maintain and grow an effort like this, which includes financial limitations on the part of the members that ultimately affects the organization's ability to create and develop the infrastructure needed to run a large group. Because as we all know, it takes money to make money. His work is focused on disrupting policy and activism around disability. And he says, you don't need to be a leader, you just need to be yourself and show commonality and empathy with people. Isn't that so true, that actually flows right into sharing with you that the next book in my series, and the last of Becoming an Exceptional SLP Leader has started, I'm so excited, the 14 other coworkers have begun writing their chapters. And we are really looking forward to sharing this with you in November of this year. So before we get started, just want to invite you to engage with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and go to our XceptionalLeaders.com page, where you can sign up for the mailing list, we can keep you connected to our shows and any special events and discounts that we have for you. So, without further ado, let's hear George Baker and his amazing journey.
So, I'm here today with my good friend, George Baker, who… we've known each other for quite a few years now, we have done various collaborations and projects together over the years. But I'm really excited, partly to share George's story with everyone, particularly anyone that hasn't come across George before, but also ready to get a big update on The Disability Union, which is a phenomenal project that George has been involved in, starting and growing in the last few months. So, George, thanks for joining me, as always,
My pleasure. It's always to be here Martyn.
Always, always a pleasure, never a chore.
So yeah, we did the greatest gala with our backstory, George, this sort of in a bit, bit about you, but bit of a couple of touch points of things you've worked on you know over the years, but then sort of yeah, we'll then get into the Union after this bit.
Okay. So, I've been disabled my whole life, I have congenital muscular dystrophy, so I'm a full-time wheelchair user. And I have a 24 by seven care, I am on a care package, etc. I have always worked primarily in the marketing industry, until I started the Union, I ran a, an award winning marketing agency, called the Accessible Media Agency (https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessible-media-agency/) which hired and trained disabled people to work in marketing jobs, and you and I have collaborated on all sorts of business projects over the years, and often. But really, I have worked on a whole host of different industries, doing mostly direct marketing, and kind of paid advertising for people, as well as a little bit of a handling direct mail, stuff like that.
Yeah, I think that, you know, it's interesting for people listening, probably know, now that I've ended up doing the marketing agency, and there's a background in sort of what I did a bit of that Union as well. And I think for me and you it's the fact we have a disability, the fact that we want the world to be more accessible and inclusive, and the fact that business and marketing has also been a common narrative or a common topic is very much where we've always, you know, got on very well, and we are friends and we've worked on different projects. So yeah, I think that's great to set up a bit of your background, and I suppose, yeah, moving to the Union part, more is there. I'd also, you know, be interested to get your take on you know, what was it a move away from marketing or is a transferable skill of marketing that enables the Union to be successful.
Just to say that about two or three years ago, that I began to become more and more interested in politics. Primarily, because I'm 30 years old now. I'm trying to, the older I became as a disabled person, the more I realized that the world wasn't set up for me, a lot of the struggles that I face are actually nothing to do with my disability. Got to do with the way society is organized, and the attitudes that that exist, etc. So, I became more interested in politics and eventually ended up running to be an MP in the last election, I ran to be a Labor MP. But I should say, it is so important to say that the disability component was not part of it, it was completely independent, because there are good and bad things about all political parties. It's important, but I ran to be an MP, and that experience showed me how little support there was for disabled people in the society generally, and how highly marginalized we are, and also how little the public know about not just disability issues, but just about how to interact with disabled people in general.
And it was actually, during a meeting that was held as part of a campaign planning meeting, for a very marginal constituency in my area and you know I was talking about how, how can you get different people involved in politics, or particularly how can you get disabled people involved in politics, and how can you get them to become activists. And I actually have a feeling it is a little bit of a fight to get in there. That kind of throws in the question because it's hard enough for disabled people as it is, the last thing they need to be doing is becoming activists. To solve, to solve the kind of problems that should be solved by the whole of the community, you know, you can’t always ask marginalized people to do the work of improving our lives. So, I got irritated and I said, no, look, it's impossible for disabled people because…
There's effectively a war being conducted against you know, a lot of the support that we have in terms of benefits and social care and other types of legal protections, legal aid for one thing, that has been slashed for release from the top in the past 10 years, and the world is becoming more and more hostile to disabled people and they're fighting to survive. A lot of the time, there are some of us who are lucky enough to be ok to be relatively unimpacted, but the truth is, that it is getting worse and worse.
Yeah, just a quick comment there George, I know, we've got some listeners in the States. And so, some of the policy side might differ. But actually, I think the broader point will resonate across both...
Both sides of the Atlantic, because I from my understanding in America, that there really isn't the level of health service and social care that we have in Britain. So as much as some people are struggling in Britain, for the reasons we said, I understand that in America, it's like really, really hard going without…,
Yeah so, I know, I know a little bit about the state of disability services in America. It very much depends where you live. Yeah, there are some states where you can get excellent kind of disability service in certain areas. In other states, so it simply doesn't exist. And really, what I would say is that a lot of the problems that people are facing in America are a result of the same kind of challenges that we have in Britain. So, there's a similar situation across the ocean as it were in a lot of places. Yeah, it's basically transferable. It's the same issues, right?
So really, I had this conversation where I said look, it’s same people that really marginalize things, and vice versa. And all the people around the table, said I had no idea about that. I did not know it was so bad. What happened? Why is there no fight back? And I said, well, there is a fight back. Like, you know, there's all sorts of organizations and charities shouted about it, disabled people's organizations shouted about it, I mean, the really famous one in Britain, there's a group called Disabled People Against Cuts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disabled_People_Against_Cuts) who has thought really over all the changes in, regressive changes in, legislation for the past 10 years, they have made some bones and really impressive things like in the disability community as a whole. I managed to fight to get there. So that they are easily done of the take, basically, then there is investigation and say disability policy in Britain…
They said that…
Wasn't it? It was. Right. And they said that the policy changes would not matter. So, till then, until, you know, years ago, and Britain had some of the best liberal world leader in disability, everything was far, far from perfect, but it had improved a lot. Now it's going backwards. So yeah, I had this conversation and I said, was also very defiant. I said, Yes. So that's, why is it a problem at all? So that's the rule. You don't appreciate how marginalized disabled people are or how hard it is, first of all denied, and how little support we get from other sectors for the fight against the status, right? And I said, Oh, how do we solve that? And I said, well, really, the truth is that the only way that disability, improvements in disability will ever come about, the only thing that ever was is, when disabled people themselves have managed to organize.
To build organizations in collaborations that have, you know, put pressure on the people who have influence or power to make this very change alright and that is the, that is the truth. And I said, really at the time, it was just a brain spa, I said what in is the way, is it Disability Union in the same way you have other trade unions because if disabled people are impacted by almost, you know that, all the power structures that affect us we have in common. Yeah, like the right social services, whether it's the local stores, it's all these different factors where actually, all the federal people interact with the same power structures that have oppressed them or treat them badly or that result in the services. So, it's in our interest to band together collectively and help each other. Now, in the past, the organizations that have worked like that have, is funded through our own charity of collective work. So, the brands or, you know, serve a lot from profit outfits as a community, right, so I got funded. My mind lighting around is that, as targeted as disabled people are, the only way through, was to build our own power structure, is to fund it ourselves, in the same way that a Trade Union funded itself. So that's what The Disability Union is, members pay a fee to join. It says, as long as we've done it, most people pay about five, five pounds a month, so that they get a whole raft of services, they get representation with any size of disability issue, and also allows us to reorganization and campaign fights to finally get a lot of these problems solved. And because it's funded by our members of the rehabilitation advisors, who look for grants, to form a small startup for this, like, normally started, we got some money to hire caseworkers. And now I've got some money to start off at first local lives. But it's proven now that the union can fund itself entirely and we are fully funded by our members, by the Federal people. And it isn't that like I said, well, as our members won't want us to say, was the same route at all, it was revised
As an icon of interest with government funding or business funding.
Yeah, it is that right? None of that. So, everyone, as a result of that, I think we are going to be able to achieve a lot more, a lot faster, and have a lot more insights. And actually, I was reading a book the other day called The War on Disabled People (https://www.amazon.com/War-Disabled-People-Capitalism-Catastrophe/dp/1786998904). Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the author, which makes me feel terrible. But
I am sure that we can Google The War on Disabled People. It sounds interesting.
It sounds like a part of that. But whether the author says that there's a huge number of simple, smart people in support with things like okay, they benefit decisions or quarters or social services or data and less discrimination or things like that. She said that there is not any law that can support charities or organizations that are funded through rounds, etc., simply do not have the capacity to help everyone who needs help. Now, what was discovered is that by charging a fee to join in, in a membership organization of people that are supportive of each other, we are able to fund providing that support. But the model works, we have caseworkers, check out people, will move on staff veteran support and as a result people are actually getting the help that they need. Now that the terrifying thing is that these people have a wonderful job. And I think that we have, but the truth is that life is so bad for the agent, the members that have been with us, since the very start, are only just starting to see results. It takes six months to a year to enter your life. Yeah, it's just horrendous that it takes that long for people to get basic necessities, like money to buy food, or someone to care for them who cannot do their daily activities by themselves. Yeah. Yeah, it's awful. So that's what the, the union is there to do.
Yeah, I know in, the beginning. I mean, I know, bits and bobs and even like just having you summarize it right now. You know, it's sort of strikes me every time you mentioned, it is such an important, powerful, you know, service for the, for the community.
Mai Ling [Advertisement] 16:06
I've always said the most valuable things I've ever done to increase my business and industry knowledge in the very specific niche of disabilities was always related to learning from other people, whether it was going to conferences, introducing myself and connecting directly with LinkedIn messages, or asking people for a warm referral, hearing other people's stories and finding pearls of wisdom has been a priceless part of my journey. And ultimately, my success with various offerings is directly related to these. That's definitely why I created this podcast for you. And also, why 13 other amazing disability leaders and previous podcast guests join me to write a book for you. For less than $15, you can get intimate stories and priceless startup journeys from 14 exceptional disability leaders, including my cohost of this podcast, Martyn Sibley. So, I invite you to go to Amazon search for becoming an exceptional leader and get this book today. Now, let's get back to our amazing interview.
I want to get into a couple of questions in a minute around.
But you in terms of the kind of that there's an element around you of being a leader that's interesting to unpack. And it's also for the listeners that are looking or wanting to start something in the disability world, or they already have, and just giving value to the listener. So, we'll, we'll come on to that in a second. But last kind of particular thing, speaking of the union and all the great stuff you've been doing, as you say off the backdrop of some horrendous kind of external situations, but the great work you've been doing is around the funding model. Because I mean, I know with Disability Horizons, we've tried things over the years where there was sort of a charge of money to the community. You know, I think to be fair, they were more in fact, you and I did do something around a travel sort of newsletter that had lip sharing, and it was a separate thing we did at Horizons that was sort of for personal development. And I don't think that there's a blanket, disable people don't pay for stuff, I don't buy into that narrative that some speak to. But then I think at the same point, like a travel newsletter is solving a problem for those disabled people that have the means and the ability to travel. I say ability, because there are some people that just can't go on a plane and it's kind of. But from your perspective, it's apparent that you're solving such a fundamental need. It's not, I don't want to call it a luxury but you know, travel and personal development, let's say are higher up in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, are as you are literally helping people to get shelter, food, water, care, those more basic, so it sort of makes sense. There's been a bigger appetite to fund it. But I just would like to get your experience and thoughts on that sort of model where the community have always been saying that they're not going to pay for staff because charities do it for free. And just to unpick, there's money and funding and propensity to pay for stuff.
Yeah, so I think that really the answer is to obviously just be brutally honest about it. Right? So, the truth is that the type of disabled people who can travel and pay for luxuries, etc. Those sorts of things are generally for people who are disabled and also have a degree of privilege that makes their lives a little bit easier. Right? All that people who are just as individuals, extremely strong and large, have a higher power, if that makes sense. Self-starters people who are determined and because of their privileges or circumstances able to get to a position where the disability hasn't completely restricted them day to day, example of that would be great. So, my family's fairly middle class on the white die, I'm reasonably intelligent. A lot of I haven't, my disability hasn't meant that I had to struggle for the basic necessities of life. And therefore, despite the fact that I'm often very unwell, and I can't move etc., I have a care package that enables me to be independent, I live in an area that at times requires funding for services, is actually quite hard. I have some that are designed where I don't have to depend on a housing benefit, doesn't matter what my level of income is, I'm not worried about I don't have to worry about buying food and things like that. And as a result, I have the time to research things like travel and all that other stuff. And I think the truth is that because of that, that demographic, kind of twist. There's almost like learning disabilities as far as the have nots, right. The hubs have the willpower and the salary or the time to do the right research for things like that. And related personal development, it doesn't appeal to them so much, because actually, as individuals that are people who've already lost that, or more are further along the journey than perhaps the right change. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does. Yeah.
Because their basic needs is fulfilled that aspirational loyalism has all the time. I think to be honest, the vast majority of people stuck in a situation where being aspirational was simply not something I would be worried about. Was that
It is that by firefighting, the basics,
That firefighting now to speak to the idea that disabled people won't pay for things, that that's categorically rubbish. Because it's something like, what is it like 20% of the population decided? Between 16 and 30, the central population is able. So, they buy lots of stuff. They buy stuff that knows or is doing, they buy clothes or buy food they buy. Just the title society is not visiting. Right. So, they do buy fenders, but it's a case of that only buying is appropriate for that once in a while. Does that make sense?
It does. Yeah. Yeah.
So I think that's and I think that, you know, I've heard from a lot of people, a lot of really incredible, particularly disability campaigners who told me point blank, people will not pay for delivery and more, they're wrong, I have hundreds of members in pain every day, so disabled people won't pay for stuff that will pay for things that are important to them. The choices and lots of these people are in a fairly tight financial situation. They shouldn't have to pay for the service that we're delivering. But the truth is my child, without them paying for it. I wouldn't find the right the right available for grant that was possible for free. But they have to pay for it to fund it. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does. It does. That's really interesting. I mean, there's a lot of different elements around the money, the propensity to spend, the community spending power and the kind of services you're either there's a lot to go around that. But I think ya ultimately, what we've kind of seen here is that generally, there's some dire situations for many disabled people, and where other solutions are being put forward, there are limitations or conflict of interest. And so, you know, as much as like the benefit of the union is it's funded by the members. It's also from what you were saying earlier, the amount you charge is by no means prohibitive, either. So it's not like you're asking people struggling with everything to spend hundreds per month, or hundreds even a very affordable price point, but extrapolated over, say 15 to 20% of society but you know, you don't even need every single person before you you've already funded case workers and the general infrastructure and the I can imagine as you get more members, you're able to do more in lots of different angles. So yeah, I just thought that was really worth going in a little bit deeper, because there's a lot of stereotypes from not just the world but even from some disabled people about that that narrative. So you instead of moving more towards Yeah, very it's times flown, as always, but just be great, you know, as I said, to give value to people listening, so from your entrepreneurial exploits, and now you're in the union and to creating a movement and disrupting politics and activism, around disability and just be great to get some lessons you've had and some tips that you might want to give to other disabled leaders.
First of all, I think the important thing is to stop thinking of yourself as a loser. I think, you know the word is lived experience, people want to hear from people who are like them, you know, if you're somebody who is, if you see yourself as a leader, what you're really talking about is personality driven last thing, and seeing yourself with a mood, otherwise, it's going to make that harder to see yourself as just another average Joe, it's a bit wild your customers is what you need today, to show them, that you are one of them. And actually, that really is living your life concurrently with that. So for example, I tried to be very open about the struggles that I've had, but I haven't had a lot of those that my disability has impacted me and impacted other people and apply the links, the benefits to those things. There's one other side. So really, the other data set actually is it's much more about sharing, commonality, and empathy with people. So, they feel heard and understood, and therefore able to take action in the same way that you have or propose that they take action.
Yeah, about some words, we hear when they make us feel a bit negative and I know disability, one of the words is inspiration, because of obviously, the narrative of inspiration porn. And for anyone that isn't familiar, it's that idea that disabled people inspire non-disabled people for doing the most trivial non-inspiring things. But it's literally just because there's a disability. So that’s sort of yucky inspiration, poor narrative, makes the word inspire a little bit gray or a bit dirty. But I often still say that, if it's not inspiration porn, but it's like, generally, positive inspiration, like we all need that little bit of motivation, and energizing, I think there can be the positive sense of being inspired and inspiring others. And also, I think, like you say that the word leader for you, you know, it doesn't quite chime with you. But ultimately, what you're saying is, it's about being real, authentic, and genuine. And it's actually about sort of having that, you know, community or customer base that dependent if it's a business or a movement, or whatever it might be, but it's just sort of that speaking the truth, and, and giving other people the tools to kind of go where they want to be, would you even say you feel like sort of you are enabling others in some ways?
Yeah. So, I think the important thing is to really look at the actual meaning of leadership. Right? So, I think as one may find it, there is an important misappropriation of the word of what it means. It doesn't mean that you need to show people that you have actually something they haven't achieved that you're particularly good at something or better than them in some way. Leadership means taking people literally. It means enabling them to achieve things that would not otherwise, by giving them the confidence and skills to get from where they are to where they want to be, right? So, leadership is actually about sharing the journey. The humbler you are and the more honest you are, the more effective they will be. Yeah, you know, if somebody sees a photo of me wearing out... so a good example is during the election, I have to have a photo of me say with a tie, now the truth is that a lot of people are far less likely to connect to that, than they would have been if I'd have taken a photo of me in bed surrounded by all my pillows that make me comfortable with a cup of coffee and my glasses on right? You see what I mean, disabled people, particularly disabled people with similar conditions to me, will look at that and go oh my god, he's like me and he is running to be an MP, why didn't I too do something like that...
It is relatability as well.
It's relatability. It's much more important to show empathy and commonality, with the people you're trying to help than it is to show that you have a perfect life or are in some way better. And the truth is that if you want to sound something through personality laughter and like that, then I have to know you, I have to like you and I have to trust you. Those are the three things, know, like and trust. Yeah, who do you are likely to trust? Do you know, like and trust the sleazy car salesman? Or do you know, like and trust, your best mate that you have known for 10 years who has similar experiences to you and is honest with you about the past life experiences and what has, hasn't happened? You can connect with him. Yeah, there's a propensity and the leadership, quote, leaderships by stable, hey, like a social media influencer, or, and see that as a certain kind of thing. People that are most effective at doing that are the people who make themselves genuinely relatable for our audience.
Yeah, even looking at the world I've moved into with big brands, that's what they're realizing, right? Like, yeah, if you know, you're a supermarket, and you're not very known, or like or not trusted, because you don't actually look after the environment, or you don't include all customers from diverse backgrounds, including disability, then actually, you're going to end up not being a very, you know, respected or even just utilized brand or company, whereas if you genuinely, authentically, you know, care about the environment and you care about your customers and your staff and your supply chain, you're gonna win in the business center. I know, the Union isn't in that, that world, it's not so much business, it's more about political activism. But I think we're just trying to mean a lot about know, like, and trust even when it, you know, is, and maybe even when we look at societal change from a policy, political perspective, it'll be interesting if governments start to catch on that, you know, political parties need to be more relatable as well.
I think it's very, very important to remember that people are just people. So, there is no difference between operating in the space that I'm operating in and operating in a space that you are operating in. What we have to do is influence people, and people will just pay for it, no difference. Alright, so I'm really impressed at how well Purple Goat (http://purplegoatagency.com/) is doing. Right? That is exceptional. Like a raid. Like, I honestly, I didn't think it was, I didn't think it was worth, I didn't think it would have been possible to get brands to spend large amounts of money on or what they are going to spend money on, quite really. I mean we would have discussions about how Purple Goat is doing and quite clearly, you're doing it every day. And I say the reason you are doing that is because it's a very down to earth honest approach. I think that was what it was, and just combine that with kind of the usual way that big marketing agencies interact with them. So, you're familiar enough to them, but still different enough to make them pay for it, rather than somebody else. Yeah. That's really important. And I so I want to just make it very clear that people need to stop making, a distinction between if the industry is all dolls, when it comes to marketing or sales or they are influencer or whatever. Or it's about it's about having human relationships with people. That's all it's about. Yeah. It's about moving real human relationships.
I know we both talked and have done various coaching things over the years. But did… Is there something still like not to differentiate whether it's marketing or sales or politics, etc., but it is a you know, again, giving value to the listener something around having the end in sight more around the sort of vision mission side of the goal, rather than, you know, arbitrary materialistic goals.
Well, people are attracted to passionate people. Right? And they are attracted to a vision or goal of something better. So, you know, just selling somebody something. Oh, you're really sad, or whatever it is, love that barn, you know, or water or, like chocolate, or the vision of a better world, right? It's all the same thing. That won't get better after they've bought that thing. Yeah. Do you see what I mean, so the more you like sell them what the world will be like for them, the better. Right, the more and the more you know, lots about you and your outfit and about them and its standards and outcomes that other people like. Yeah, the more the better.
Yeah, that's phenomenal advice you know George, mindful of time. So, we're gonna wrap in a second but really back to you today. It's all, I we've always had very interesting chats generally, on the phone and in person. I'm looking forward to it again in person sooner than later after all this COVID stuff. But um, in terms of the podcast episode, and the listeners, as there's just so many amazing insights, I think, yeah, great, great to share about the union. I appreciate for people in America, it may not be as directly related, but at the same time, maybe there's some inspiration for people around that that thing. And whether you're in America, United Kingdom or anywhere around the world, be great just to finish George, by telling people where to learn more about you and the Union.
Search, search for us on Facebook, Twitter for The Disability Union you will also find us at disabilityunion.co.uk. That's probably the easiest way to find out about us.
Amazing. And if anyone's got further thoughts and questions, I'm sure you'd be happy to engage. Right, George?
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
Great. O wow, that was so good. And yeah, that those insights around Yeah, to being relatable and you know authentic self. And yeah, not kind of getting stuck on verticals, but it's just all about people and making the world better was phenomenal. So, thank you again, and I personally got as much out of it as I know I did. And I look forward to catching up with you again soon, George,
O absolutely my pleasure.
O Take care mate.
Mai Ling 37:00
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode. And I invite you to connect with me directly at Malingchan.com. We also want you to let us know what you think about the show ideas and how we can continue to help you or referrals to a great guest through our Facebook group at Exceptional Leaders podcast or email us at email@example.com.
Yes, Mai Ling, I totally agree to that. I know we're both really mission driven people. And for me, it's always been this big mission to have a world that's fully inclusive for all people. And in the end, that's probably why we've bonded and come together so well on this podcast, exceptional leaders podcast, because we get to meet cool people, give them a platform to share that story and really just make such an impact in the disability world. I love it. Also, for everyone listening please do head over to disabilityadvisors.com This is the magazine that I cofounded about 10 years ago and we've got a free mailing list there for all the latest article, news and discounts for the shop if that's your kind of thing. And definitely definitely do get your copy of Becoming an Exceptional Leader book. We want you to get as much information as you need and to be as successful as you can be.
I’m George, I’m 30 years old, live near Southampton and have Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. I’m passionate about making the world a more inclusive place for disabled people and doing whatever I can to increase the opportunities available to people like us. Outside of work I love music, video games and am involved in local politics. Like many people however, I’m most happy sat around with a bunch of friends talking nonsense and drinking JD and coke.
I started The Disability Union because I believe the only way to further disability rights and increase inclusion is for all disabled people to work together and support each other to get our voices heard and our needs met.